Tuesday, November 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

H A R Y A N A

Reintroduce octroi: councillors
Chandigarh, November 26
There was near-unanimity at a meeting of representatives of the Haryana urban civic bodies held here today regarding the need to reintroduce octroi in the state.

Housing scam in Faridabad
Notices issued to 40 allottees
Panchkula, November 26
The inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the allotment of over 700 LIG - II houses of the Housing Board , Haryana , in Faridabad has indicted around 40 allottees.

Woman shot at in court
Panipat, November 26
In a daring attack on the court premises here today, an elderly teacher, Ms Joginder Kaur, was shot at and seriously injured by an unidentified youth who managed to escape after committing the crime.

IN FOCUS
Rare painting in Ambala library
Ambala
A priceless painting by the well-known artist, Sobha Singh, whose 100th birth anniversary falls later this month, is gathering dust in a library in Ambala City.

Water scarcity in Rohtak
Rohtak, November 26
The rotational programme started by the Irrigation Department for running canals has disrupted the water supply in the town and its suburbs.

Public holidays
Chandigarh, November 26
The Haryana Government has notified public holidays in its offices during the calendar year 2002.
All Saturdays and Sundays will be closed days.



YOUR TOWN
Ambala
Chandigarh

Faridabad
Kurukshetra
Panchkula
Panipat
Rewari
Rohtak


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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 

Letter causes panic at DRM’s office
Ambala, November 26
Panic gripped the Divisional Railway Manager’s office here this evening after an envelope containing some powdery substance was received this evening.

Growers unhappy at new cane rates
Faridabad, November 26
Sugarcane growers of the district are a unhappy lot over the cane rates announced by the state government. According to reports, the sugar mill authorities at Palwal have also reduced the numbers of cane purchase centres in the district from 37 to 32 this time.

Rotary club organises ‘Bal Mela’
Kalka, November 26
The Rotary and Retract Club of Kalka organised the 11th ‘Bal Mela’ here yesterday. Thousands of people including men, women and children from nearby towns of Parwanoo, Pinjore and residents of Kalka visited the mela.


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Reintroduce octroi: councillors
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
There was near-unanimity at a meeting of representatives of the Haryana urban civic bodies held here today regarding the need to reintroduce octroi in the state. The municipal councillors, according to informed sources, were also unanimous on the desirability of a transparent and objective house tax policy as proposed by the state government. But at the same time they all wanted some relief to be given to tha tax payer.

The meeting was convened by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, to discuss the proposed house tax policy, which has been mired in controversy right from its inception.

Cutting across party lines the MLAs representing the urban constituencies had demanded considerable relief in the proposed house tax, which, they argued, would be trebled after the new assessment. After the not-so-successful bandh sponsored by the Congress in the state on November 2, the pressure on the government had eased to give relief in house tax. In the recently concluded Assembly session, Mr Chautala had announced that he would consult the municipal councillors and other prominent persons before taking a final decision on the controversial policy.

Interestingly, among the first persons to demand the reintroduction of octroi was a BJP man. Unmindful of the fact that it was the BJP agenda to abolish octroi and the party was making a similar demand in Punjab also, Mr Sanjay Bhatia, President of the Panipat civic body, said octroi should not only be reintroduced but it should also be ad valorem on the Punjab pattern. When Mr Chautala pointed out that octroi was being abolished in Punjab, Mr Bhatia reportedly said that if octroi was reintroduced, his civic body would look after the financial needs of the neighbouring Samalkha civic body also.

Mr Bhatia, while appreciating the new house tax policy, said some relief should be given in house tax. His demand for the reintroduction of octroi was supported, among others, by Ms Sangeeta Aggarwal, president of the Yamunanagar civic body, Mr Kishan Choudhary of Kaithal and the president of the Palwal civic body.

Mr Shankar Dass(BJP), president of the Ambala cantonment Municipal Council, said while the house tax policy was good as it aimed at ending arbitrariness and corruption, “goli thodi si meethi karne ki zaroorat hai”. The vice-president of the Yamunanagar civic body, Mr Surjit, said there should be three categories of cost of construction instead of the existing two. However, his demand for deferring the implementation of the new policy for one year was rejected by the Chief Minister.

Mr Padam Jain of Sirsa said house tax should be reduced by 50 per cent. He also pleaded that at certain places the collector’s rate of land was on the higher side, which should be reduced. A representative of the Jind civic body said only influential persons who had not been paying house tax earlier were critical of the policy. He alleged that a former Congress Minister, whose house was worth at least Rs 50 lakh, was paying only Rs 196.88 per annum as house tax.

Mr B.S. Madan of Thanesar said the new policy had checked the evasion of tax, but vacant land should be exempted from tax, a demand supported by many. Mr Sanjay Bhatia said there was no rationale behind calculating the cost of uncovered land in the assessment of tax when a house owner had to leave such land unconstructed as per the municipal bylaws. Certain representatives also demanded that there should be no tax on houses constructed on plots up to 50 sq yd.

Mr Chautala assured the representatives that their suggestions would be considered while finalising the new policy. He said his government was not interested in burdening the people with taxes unnecessarily. Just as he considered himself a trustee of the state revenue, the municipal councillors should also consider themselves as trustees of the civic body funds to be used for the welfare of the people.

He said his decision to auction mines had resulted in a big jump in revenue collection.

However, Mr Chautala expressed reservations on the total exemption of tax on any category of assessees. Similarly, he was not in favour of exempting vacant plots from tax for an unlimited period. He said the meeting was convened for discussing the house tax policy and not the reintroduction of octroi.

Mr Chautala said he had told a similar meeting held on June 18, 2000, that if a civic body wanted to reintroduce octroi, it should forward a resolution in this regard to the state government.

Some of the councillors who wanted the reintroduction of octroi said they favoured octroi because it ensured cash accruals to the civic bodies on a daily basis, while other taxes were collected only once a year.

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Housing scam in Faridabad
Notices issued to 40 allottees
Ruchika M.Khanna

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
The inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the allotment of over 700 LIG - II houses of the Housing Board , Haryana , in Faridabad has indicted around 40 allottees.

Sources in the Housing Board, Haryana say while most of these allottees have already been issued show- cause notices, notices to the remaining allottees will be issued soon. In case the department does not receive any reply from these allottees, an FIR will be registered for fraud and cheating, informed a senior official.

The allotment letters issued to these 40-odd people also stand cancelled. The applicants in the waiting list will now be considered for allotment of these houses, informed a senior official of the Housing Board.

It may be noted that the Housing Board had proposed a scheme for constructing 2700 houses in Sector 55, Faridabad, in July 1998. While 1764 LIG- I houses were for general category, 200 LIG-I houses were for government employees and 716 LIG- II houses were meant for Class III and Class IV employees of autonomous institutions and other government employees.

Applications for the same were received within a month and subsequently the houses were allotted. In December last year, the Housing Board officials discovered that a number of applicants for the 716 LIG-II houses had been impersonated and did not even know that a house had been allotted in their name by the Housing Board.

The inquiry, conducted by XEN Vigilance, Housing Board, has reportedly revealed that certain unscrupulous property dealers, having close links with the land mafia there, had fraudulently got the allotments in the names of government employees by submitting their applications along with their salary details and photographs. In a number of cases, the applicant did not exist in the department mentioned in the application form — i.e. people had fraudulently submitted that they were government employees.

Also, in a number of cases where the department of an applicant, as mentioned in his application, had not replied back to the inquiry officer, the applications had been cancelled. It is learnt that other than scrutinizing the 716 allottees, 28 applicants in the waiting list have also been scrutinized. The task of verifying the applicants was carried out by Assistant Engineers and Executive Engineers of Housing Board.

Housing Board officials, meanwhile say that those who had allegedly submitted these fake documents for allotment, had now gone underground, for fear of being implicated in a police case. “ As it is they have nothing to loose, but the earnest money submitted to the Board; approximately Rs. 37000,” informed an officer.

Sources inform that this is not the first time that such a scam has been discovered. The land mafia, active in Faridabad, Karnal and Gurgaon, has often been indulging in similar practices in various schemes floated by the Housing Board .


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Woman shot at in court
Our Correspondent

Panipat, November 26
In a daring attack on the court premises here today, an elderly teacher, Ms Joginder Kaur, was shot at and seriously injured by an unidentified youth who managed to escape after committing the crime.

After administering first aid treatment, she was taken to Apollo Hospital in Delhi.

The police has launched a manhunt to nab the criminal.

Ms Joginder Kaur was to record her statement today in the court in a criminal case relating to the demolition of her house at Ram Lal Chowk and her kidnapping on June 21, 2000, with an intention to take possession of the property.

All accused of this “kothi kand” are in judicial custody.

Today around noon, when she was sitting in the chamber of her advocate, a youth aged around 20 entered the chamber and shot her in the chest and escaped, leaving behind the used country-made revolver. Her bodyguard who as at a distance that time tried to nab him but failed due to panic on the court premises.

The youth reportedly escaped in a car parked outside.

The woman has been receiving threatening calls for the past one week against giving a statement in the court. She had intimated the police about these calls.

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IN FOCUS
Rare painting in Ambala library
Rahul Das

Ambala
A priceless painting by the well-known artist, Sobha Singh, whose 100th birth anniversary falls later this month, is gathering dust in a library in Ambala City.

The painting lies in the reading room of Guru Gobind Singh library which is currently undergoing extensive renovation. One of Sobha Singh’s masterpieces, the painting shows Guru Gobind Singh reclining on a couch with a falcon resting on a perch close to him.

There is an open window with a clear blue sky and the Guru’s shield, sword and a quiver full of arrows form the foreground. A book lies close by. The use of rich colours add vibrancy to the painting. Its beauty is enhanced by the fall of a curtain which looks lifelike. A horse rider is seen at a distance through the window.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr DD Gautam, said he would ensure that the painting was taken full care of “We will definitely give honour to the painting by Sobha Singh whose 100th birth anniversary falls on November 29,” he said.

Mr T.S. Walia, convener of the Ambala unit of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), observed that the panting was donated by Sobha Singh to the library in 1949. According to Mr Walia, the painting shows Guru Gobind Singh outside the Anandpur Sahib fort.

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Water scarcity in Rohtak
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, November 26
The rotational programme started by the Irrigation Department for running canals has disrupted the water supply in the town and its suburbs.

The water supply in the town is canal based as the underground water here is brackish. The town, therefore, is dependent on the JLN and WYS canals for its drinking water and other needs.

Although Rohtak has been facing a shortage of water in the summer season, it has earlier never experienced rationing of water supply during the winter as it did during the past 10 days.

The Superintending Engineers (Public Health), Mr R.C. Bansal, blamed the new rotational programme introduced by the Irrigation Department for the water crisis in the town. Under the programme, water will flow for 24 days in canals followed by the canals running dry for 16 days.

This means that for 16 days, the water supply would be met from the storage tanks. But in Rohtak, the Public Health Department has a limited storage capacity which is enough for eight days only, Mr Bansal told. So, the department had no option but to halve the normal water supplied to the residents. Though the tanks are designed to supply 150 litres of water per head per day, the supply was 125 litres only. And during the dry days, the people got less than 60 litres per head per day.

The Public Health Department will install a third waterworks to meet the demand fully even during the summer season. The project costing approximately Rs 65 crore is awaiting approval from the government and the NCR Planning Board.

The Irrigation Department, it is learnt, has declined to change the rotational programme on the ground that it has been formulated to make optimum use of the canal water.
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Public holidays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Haryana Government has notified public holidays in its offices during the calendar year 2002.

All Saturdays and Sundays will be closed days. Other holidays are Guru Gobind Singh’ birthday (January 21), Guru Ravi Dass birthday (February 27), Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati jayanti (March 8), Maha Shivaratri (March 12), Holi (March 29), Mahavir jayanti (April 25), Lord Parashuram jayanti (May 15), Maharana Partap jayati (June 13), Sant Kabir jayanti (June 24), Independence Day (August 15), Janmashtami August 30), Haryana Heroes Martyrdom Day (September 23), Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday (October 2), Maharaja Aggarsain jayanti (October 7), Dasehra (October 15), Maharishi Balmiki’s birthday (October 21), Haryana Day (November 1), Davali (November 4), Vishvakarma Day (November 5) Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday (November 19), Id-ul-Fitr (December 6), Christmas December 25) and Shaheed Udham Singh’s birthday (December 26).

The festivals and occasions which fall on closed days have been excluded from the list. These are Republic Day (January 26), Basant Panchami (February 17), Sir Chhotu Ram jayanti (February 17). Id-ul-Zuha (February 23), Vaisakhi (April 14), Dr Ambedkar’s jayanti (April 14), Ram Navami (April 21) and Teej (August 11).

The employees will also be allowed any two holidays to be chosen from the following restricted holidays: Moharram (March 25), Good Friday (March 29), Buddha Purnima (May 26), Id-e-Milad or Milad-un-Navi (May 26), Guru Arjan Dev’s Martyrdom Day (June 14), Shaheed Udham Singh’s Martyrdom Day (July 31), Raksha Bandhan (August 22), Karva Chauth (October 25), Govardhan Puja (November 5) and Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Martyrdom Day (Dec 8).

The government has also notified public holidays in the state during the year within the meaning of Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. These are all Sundays Republic Day January 26), Guru Ravi Dass jayanti (February 27), Maha Shivaratri (March 12), Holi March 29), bank holiday (April 1), Mahavir jayanti (April 25), Independence Day (August 15), Janmashtami (August 30) bank holiday September 30), Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (October 2, Dasehra (October 15), Divali (November 4), Guru Nanak Dev’s Birthday November 19), Id-ul-Fitr December 6 and Christmas December 25.

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Letter causes panic at DRM’s office
Tribune News Service

Ambala, November 26
Panic gripped the Divisional Railway Manager’s office here this evening after an envelope containing some powdery substance was received this evening.

A letter in the envelope threatened the DRM with dire consequences. A case been registered. A senior Railways official confirmed that an envelope containing some powdery substance was received at the DRM office. “An anonymous unsigned letter is there in the envelope. We have forwarded the envelope for analysis,” he said.

Apparently, the letter has been sent by a person named Abbas. The sender has threatened the Divisional Railway Manager, Mr Deepak Krishan, and his family members.

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Growers unhappy at new cane rates
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 26
Sugarcane growers of the district are a unhappy lot over the cane rates announced by the state government.

According to reports, the sugarmill authorities at Palwal have also reduced the numbers of cane purchase centres in the district from 37 to 32 this time. The other problem troubling the cane growers is the parta system in purchase of cane. According to this system the sugar mill accept only one-thirds of the total cane, that it had been purchasing from a farmer who has been supplying cane to the mill for the past three years.

Farmers’ organisations and political activists led by the MLA from Palwal constituency, Mr Karan Singh Dalal had recently staged a dharna on the issue. A memorandum was submitted to the Governor through the Deputy Commissioner but to no avail.

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CM urged to install solar tubewells
Our Correspondent

Rewari, November 26
The Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal (United) President, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, in a representation to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has urged the installation of solar energy based tubewells in the south Haryana, including Rewari, Mahendragarh, Gurgaon, Mewat and Badhra.

He said, as announced by the state government, the Centre had sanctioned 200 solar energy operated tubewells for the state, funds for which had already been released.

According to him south Haryana had geographical conditions well suited to such devices, and agriculture as well as drinking water supply in the area depended largely upon tubewells due to scarcity of canal water in the region.
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Rotary club organises ‘Bal Mela’
Our Correspondent

Kalka, November 26
The Rotary and Retract Club of Kalka organised the 11th ‘Bal Mela’ here yesterday. Thousands of people including men, women and children from nearby towns of Parwanoo, Pinjore and residents of Kalka visited the mela.

Mela was inaugurated by Mr Rajnish Behal, president, Rotary Club, Kalka, and Mr Ish Kapoor, secretary-general of the club. Mr S.S. Nanda, a local leader and member of the Municipal Committee, Kalka, lighted the lamp.

A number of competitions, including a baby show, a painting contest, greeting card making, solo song, group song and fancy dress competition, were organised on the occasion. Visitors enjoyed various dishes available at various stalls in the mela.

At the end of the mela, prizes were distributed among winners and a vote of thanks was presented by the president and the secretary of the club.

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Speed Post passport service soon
Tribune News Service

Ambala, November 26
Speed Post passport service is proposed to begin soon in Ambala.
Senior post master, Ambala GPO, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra, said that this service could be availed by residents of Ambala, Panchkula and Yamuna Nagar. Persons keen to apply for passport could get a form for Rs 20 from the GPO. The form would be deposited at the GPO and Rs 100 charged as speed post passport service charge, a note said.

The fees for passport is Rs 300 for 36 page passport, Rs 500 for 60 page passport and Rs 200 for children below 15 years.

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Smoking banned in public places
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Haryana Government has prohibited smoking in public places such as auditoriums, hospital buildings, educational institutions, libraries, court buildings and public offices and in public transport vehicles with immediate effect.

A spokesman of the Health Department said that the step had been taken following a recent order by the Supreme Court prohibiting smoking in public places.

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Seminar on copyright laws concludes
Our Correspondent

Kurukshetra, November 26
A two-day national seminar on copyright law with industry and users concluded with a valedictory address by Mr Justice J.L. Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here last evening.

The Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University, Mr R.S. Chaudhry, elaborated on the importance and value of intellectual property hights.

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